Overview

Winter in Iceland means a countryside ablaze with color and the Northern Lights dancing in the Arctic night sky. Enjoy visiting the best-known sights in Iceland, riding the Icelandic Horse along fine bridle paths and viewing a dazzling Northern Lights display after a great day in the saddle. Riding during the wintertime is an Icelandic tradition and a wonderful experience.

We will take a tour and visit the Secret Lagoon where you can relax in the mineral-rich water. We will ride between rivers, Þjórsá and Hvítá and visit the Golden circle. During the riding days, “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic Horse will be introduced to you while riding on the river trails, made for tölting.

Get ready in the evenings to experience the unique tranquillity of the Icelandic countryside and gaze skywards to perhaps see green-colored Northern Lights dancing above you (weather permitting).

Key Facts

  • Set departures January, February, March, October, November & December
  • Minimum 2 / Maximum 16 riders
  • 4 Days / 3 nights (3 days riding)
  • 2-3 hours riding per day
  • Intermediate riders
  • Weight limit – 110 kilos

Riding Level and Horses

Riders must be at ease at all 4 paces across varied, uneven terrain and be in good physical condition. You must be secure in the saddle and be comfortable riding for long hours.

Much of the riding is at a tölt, which can be fast so you need to be a confident rider able to adapt to different riding styles.

If you know how to ride a horse using English riding style, you should have no problems riding an Icelandic horse. Western-style riders should not experience any difficulties either, adjusting to the Icelandic way of riding. The guides will take some time at the beginning of each tour to explain the correct way to saddle the horse, mount it and how to ride the different gaits. They will carefully explain how and when to ride “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic horse.

The height of horses from 13hh – 14hh

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.

The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keep the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.

Bits used are mostly simple snaffles and the Bridles have a detachable noseband with clip on reins.

The Icelandic Horse breed is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour.  Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience.

Helmets are strongly recommended and a packing list will be provided when you book the ride. Saddlebags, wet weather gear, and water are provided

Itinerary

Combine searching for the Northern Lights with some winter riding in Iceland.

Day 1: Wednesday: Reykjavík – Blesastaðir Guesthouse
Pick up at 18:00 from BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik. We drive to the Guesthouse at Blesastaðir where we will meet our guide and staff. After we have found our bedrooms we will enjoy a delicious dinner at Blesastaðir and get to know our fellow riders and staff. We can enjoy the nice hot tub outside and look up into the sky for dazzling Northern Lights. Then get good night sleep before we start our ride the next day.

Day 2: Thursday: Kálfhóll Farm – Þjórsá – Secret Lagoon
We will drive to the Farm Kálfhóll where our guide will introduce us to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. This first riding day is a perfect way to get to know Icelandic winter riding in a relaxed atmosphere along the mighty river Þjórsá (the longest river in Iceland 212 km). We enjoy the southern countryside with an impressing view of mountain ranges, pastureland in its winter coat and the queen Hekla volcano watching over us in distance. After a magical day in the winter wonderland, we will go and visit the Secret Lagoon where you can relax in the mineral-rich water. Dinner will be served at Blesastaðir and afterward, you can take an evening stroll with your guide and host to look for the Northern Lights again. Overnight at Blesastaðir Guesthouse. (Approx. 15 km)

Day 3: Friday: Kálfhóll Farm – Hvítá
We start the day with a short ride in the winter fields by the farm before we have lunch. Our ride then takes us to the glacier river Hvítá with the milky water that streams from the glaciers in the highland.  We ride through lava and moss-covered terrain and enjoy the view we have all around us. After a short break near the river, we saddle up again and head back through the beautiful countryside to Kálfhóll farm to have a lovely dinner. There is nothing better after a wonderful day in the saddle than to relax in the steamy hot tub, watching the clear sky and hope for the Northern Lights to show up. Overnight at Blesastaðir Guesthouse. (Approx. 15 km)

Day 4: Saturday: Kálfhóll – Þjórsá – Geysir – Gullfoss – Þingvellir
After breakfast, we take our last ride along the Þjórsá river and take in the breathtaking winter pastures one last time. After a light lunch, we say goodbye to the horses and hop on to the bus to visit the Golden Circle, the three most impressive natural sights in South Iceland. Golden Circle consists of the Geysir geothermal area, golden waterfall Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park. Geysir is a geothermal area with boiling mud pits, the lively geyser Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres into the air every few minutes. At Gullfoss, you will have a chance to witness the mighty waterfall, and you can feel the power from the water coming down the canyon as you stand near the cliffs. Then we drive to Thingvellir National Park and see an amazing nature and geological phenomena at Thingvellir. Since 2004 Thingvellir has been listed on UNESCO‘s World Heritage List for its geological the uniqueness and historical significance. We will be back in Reykjavík at approx: 18:00. (Approx. 15 km)

We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary

When not riding the main activity will be centered around hunting for the Northern Lights! If you are lucky, they will be in the sky above, but if cloud cover prevents this, then you may jump into a vehicle and head out to seek clear skies.

Note:  Please give us a call as there are other itineraries available.  If you are wanting the comfort two night tour we can provide the itinerary.

The operator reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary

Accommodation and Food

You stay in a guest house in twin/double room with linen provided.

All rooms twin/double share with shared bathroom facilities.

You will visit the farms on the rides where your hosts also live and you will experience their hospitality and home cooked meals.

Icelandic food includes plenty of fresh fish as well as local lamb. Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice, but vegetables in Iceland are either grown in greenhouses or imported as the climate is too harsh for many to grow outside.

You will eat with your hosts and the meals are designed to be warming, wholesome and hearty.

Dates and Prices:  2021

Winter riding & Northern Lights
Dates:
January: 27-30
February: 3-6 / 10-13 / 17-20 / 24-27
March: 3-6 / 10-13 / 17-20
October: 27-30
November: 3-6 / 10-13 / 17 – 20 / 24-27
December: 1-4 / 8-11 / 15-18

Cost: €999.00 – (Staying in twin room guest houses with linen)

Northern Lights comfort tour
Dates: 14-16 October, 21-23 October
Cost: €1495.00 – (3 days/ 2 nights & 2 days riding, staying in hotel with private facilities)

Please contact us for the Australian dollar conversion

Single supplement on application.  Please advise when booking.

Rates are based on the Euro and subject to currency fluctuation, so please contact us for the most up to date pricing for your riding holiday.

Includes

  • 4 days / 3 nights and 3 days riding
  • Bus transfer from Reykjavík to the farm.
  • During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty-Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
  • Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet provided.
  • Certified riding guides

 Not included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Other accommodation and meals in Reykjavik
  • Additional incidentals, some sightseeing not mentioned and tips
  • Flybus Transfers to and from the airport
  • Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the duty free store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival
  • Single room supplement on application

Other Information

Location
Southern Iceland

Weather
Weather website: http://www.holiday-weather.com/

Activities
You will visit the Golden Circle which consists of the Geysir geothermal area, golden waterfall Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park. Geysir is a geothermal area with boiling mud pits, the lively geyser Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres into the air every 5-10 minutes. View the Northern lights and bathe in the Secret Lagoon.
English and Icelandic

Closest Airport
Keflavik Airport

Note: Dress warm is a must.  The Northern lights are not guaranteed.

Terms and conditions and terms apply to this riding holiday

Please contact Snaffle Travel for further information, booking terms and conditions to info@snaffletravel.com.au

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